While we may not typically think of social media influencers and military service members going hand in hand, the combination of the two has proven extremely powerful and even life-changing.
Military influencers are starting to make an impact in mental health, recruiting, and life choices. After all, our selfless and patriotic military community undoubtedly carries influence among their peers.
According to a recent study, 36% of online users in the United States currently follow one military veteran or active duty member. Impressively, the top military influencers on social media have close to fifteen million followers. Furthermore, nearly 50% of people believe military influencers played a key role in helping them decide to enlist.
Thousands of notable military servicemen and women have emerged as influencers and are building virtual communities every day. Most military veterans indicate military influencers are telling truthful and relatable stories through their social media posts.
A study by Hill & Ponton, P.A. showed that 81% of Veterans found military influencers relatable; and 73% of respondents who’d considered enlisting found military influencers to be motivational. Another survey found that 50% of followers said finding invaluable military feedback and perspectives on current events was essential.
Military Influencers and Mental Health
A recently published study by the Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science found that military service members endorse stigma as a barrier to seeking psychological health care. In working to overcome this barrier, social media campaigns have shown positive effects.
The study illustrated that efforts by the Department of Defense to optimize its social media strategy to promote help-seeking behavior and decrease stigma showed positive results. Service members were more likely to share content, visit recommended websites, and engage in resources.
“The military members and first-responders are trained to help others, but not ourselves. And to ask for help is an act of selfishness that one should be ashamed of,” said Dr. Andrew Berry, Ph.D., Psy.D., ABPP, who works with veterans to overcome the stigma of asking for help in mental health planted during military training.
The results of the study showed that optimizing outreach campaigns using iterative feedback can resonate and grab the attention of target audience members, ultimately driving behavior change concerning military stigma and help-seeking.
One military hero uses social media to engage with service members, veterans, and family members who struggle with PTSD and other mental health-related issues. Marcus Luttrell’s podcast, Team Never Quit, made a recent list of the Best Military Podcasts (complete download list), and it’s no surprise that he has turned himself into a significant military Instagram influencer in addition to podcast host. Marcus is a veteran who is committed to:
Social Media Guidelines
Every branch has its own social media guidelines for commands and active duty service members when creating an online persona on social media channels. Military commands must adhere to a tighter doctrine of rules, where service members must walk a fine line between personal and what might construe representation of the military.
According to the 2021 Social Media Guidance established by the Marine Corps, Marines and Sailors using social media are subject to the UCMJ and Marine Corps/ Navy regulations at all times, even when off duty. Commenting, posting, or linking to material that violates the UCMJ or Marine Corps/Navy regulations may result in administrative or disciplinary action, including administrative separation, and may subject Marine Corps civilians to appropriate disciplinary action.
Although our constitution calls for one’s First Amendment rights, as long as you serve in the military, certain rights are given up, specifically regarding social media.
For more information read the U.S. Marine Corps 2021 SOCIAL MEDIA HANDBOOK
Spice up your Instagram Profile Link
The BIO link is another key to increasing follower engagement. Instagram provides creators the option to add a BIO link that serves as the gateway to their portfolio of offerings. But remember –even though your website homepage is a logical link choice, your followers seek variety and innovation, so try to be imaginative and satisfy their needs.
Regardless of how many followers or subscribers you have, the challenge can be directing followers or prospects to the right resources. Whether to a video, live stream, or paid service, having a central digital hub (bio link) is crucial to growing follower retention. Register on FlowCode.com for a free account.
Resources for this article: Illustrating Best Practices in Optimizing Social Media Strategy for a Campaign Targeting Military Mental Health Stigma, Published: 07 January 2021; MilitaryConnection.com, and Hill & Ponton, P.A. (read study: https://www.hillandponton.com/trending-troops-military-influencers/